Too soon steroid injections: Risk for infection
According to a new study led by Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) researchers, showed that Steroid injections which are used to reduce pain and inflammation were seen to significantly increase the risk of infection after knee and hip surgeries, depending on how long before the surgery patients received the injections, thus, this study suggests such patients wait three months if they had a steroid injection to relieve hip pain.
As per Dr. William Schairer, study author, from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, “The risk of developing an infection after surgery increased significantly in patients who had a hip replacement within three months of receiving a steroid injection." "However, in patients who had a steroid injection and then waited three months or longer to have the surgery, there was no increased risk at all.”
However, steroid suppress the body's immune system. Patients with weaken immune systems are at higher risk of infections. Dr. Seth Jerabek, senior study author, an orthopedic surgeon at Hospital for Special Surgery said, "Hip replacement is a common and safe procedure that relieves pain and improves quality of life, and overall, the risk of developing a joint infection is low". “Although the risk is low, an infection is one of the most dreaded complications of joint replacement. Patients often need to undergo additional surgery, receive intravenous antibiotic treatment, and are off their feet during a lengthy recovery,” Jerabek added.
For this study, investigators reviewed data from 177,000 patients who had hip replacement surgery for osteoarthritis from 2005 to 2012. Researchers narrowed down the list to those who had received steroid injections before the surgery. Patients were divided into four groups , those who received no injection; those who had hip replacement within 6-12 months of an injection; those who had the surgery within 3-6 months after receiving the steroid injection ; and those who had hip replacement surgery within 3 months of receiving an injection.
The study showed that the infection rate was 2.06% in patients who received no injection and jumped to 2.81% in those who had the surgery from 3 months after an injection, representing 40 % of increased risk for infection. There was no statistically significant increase in infection risk in patients who had hip replacement from 3 - 12 months after the steroid injection.